Having rescued two dogs myself (one of whom is definitely special needs), I really wanted to like this book. And in the end I didn't dislike it...it just wasn't quite what I expected. Now, the subtitle is "Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life" so I figured that it wouldn't be all heartwarming tales of saving dogs lives, rehabilitating them and finding them amazingly perfect forever homes.
What I wasn't expecting was the extensive research and massive amount of sidetracking that the author does. This book could have used a few more tales about the many, many dogs he has rescued and a good 50 pages less (at least) of research information and boring quotes from journals and whatnot. Kotler made some great points with some of his research, for sure, but there was a lot of it that never led to any real sort of conclusion and could have been pared down. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
"'Animals...have no time for normal people.'"
"Sympathy became empathy and empathy is always the point of no return."
"'Why am I bound to promote general happiness? If my own happiness lies in something else, why may I not give it preference?'" - John Stuart Mill
"...somehow we have managed to live with dogs, to entirely intertwine our lives with them, without noticing something as straightforward as their capacity for moral behavior?"
"'I don't do drugs. I am drugs.'" - Salvador Dali
"Guilt became resentment, and resentment...often presages disaster."
"While I can offer no counter to Descartes's idea that dogs have no soul, it does appear that they have all the right equipment to have the same spiritual experiences as we do and that they actively seek out such experiences...if you're looking for similarities as a reason to make moral decisions about animal welfare, there's one in particular that should give you pause, and that is that dogs and humans and possibly a great many other species all consider the exact same things holy."